So, You Would Like to Have Three Children…

I regularly speak with people who have zero children, or one child, or two children. And they tell me they might consider or would like to have three children. My first impulse, I will own, is to bark, “No, you don’t want three kids.” But that is not helpful, I know this.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I am not going to assume anything about you. I’m just going to tell you what having three kids is like for me. Especially three kids with not quite enough space between the last two.

Here is my disclaimer: I think each of my three children is wonderful. I am very glad I have each one of them. Every child is a blessing. Even when they kind of aren’t acting like blessings. I don’t need a gentle reminder of how precious they are. Because I really do know. But this is what it is like to live with three of them at once.

  • Having three kids is not “kind of like having two kids, but with more Christmas presents.” It is a whole other universe, a universe that is just as shocking as that transition to having your first child, only also a universe that’s kind of like running a marathon and hitting a wall and then being handed some bricks to carry while you run the last 7 miles. If you are lucky, you have at least two adults living in your house–but they still outnumber you. And even when you have two adults living in your house, there will be many times when you don’t even have a 2:3 ratio but a 1:3 ratio. There is no time when nobody needs anything. Ever. It does get a heck of a lot better once none of the children are infants that need to be fed every three hours or more, but it’s still very hard when any of them are toddlers intent on killing themselves or your pets, or even just preschoolers, who can’t quite be trusted.
See What Happens?

See What Happens?

  • It is so tiring, and yet you find yourself with less help than you have available when you have two kids. You see, many people cannot handle your three kids. They are either people who can’t handle groups of children, or they already have a group of children, and if they babysit your kids, you take their kid-count from three or four up to six or seven. Do you see what I’m getting at here? Youngish babysitters (and maybe oldish ones) will have trouble keeping the baby alive while the middle child tries to test their limits and the oldest child, in a bid for attention, acts just like the middle child. Grandparents are often too old to take care of the three kids–which makes sense, because I don’t really have enough energy for it either, and I’m 33.
Table Surfing Baby

Table Surfing Baby

  • None of them have the same needs at the same time, and what worked for one won’t work for another–these are three distinct people you are talking about, with different genders, ages, personality traits, and yes, birth order. And when there are this many, it frankly gets kind of hard to keep track of whose what is whose. My dad called me “Sarah” for most of my childhood. I found this terribly insulting. But now I get it. It’s not that you can’t tell them apart, it’s that you are exhausted and your brain has died, and there seems to be this multitude of people who all want the same thing, but need different things. I have a cryer, a bolter, and a climber, and they’re all different ages and capable of different things. And everybody needs one thing: attention from you, but you can’t deliver that to three people at once very often. So they will fight to get it.
Three-Person Brawl

Three-Person Brawl

  • The logistics become extremely difficult. When my third was born, my second was just over two. And he was an “explorer.” I had to preplan what to do for when the toddler bolted when I was carrying approximately 45 pounds of baby seat plus 20 pounds of diaper bag. I actually considered swinging the baby seat at him to knock him over until I could reach him. Because that would still be better than him getting hit by a car. I also will not be owning a car with fewer than three rows of seats again until our daughter weighs 60 pounds or more. Well, she’s seven, and she is still in the neighborhood of 50. In most vehicles, three car seats will not fit side-by-side. And there’s no way to fairly divide up bedrooms if you would like people to share. Our daughter got off easy, because she’s the girl, so we moved her on up to her own room eventually and put the boys together. Except she’s really the person who could have had the patience (and been thoughtful enough) to more easily share a room with the youngest. Most of the stuff you got when the first was a baby does not last until the third one is a baby, or it becomes evident that your first baby was lucky to survive those particular products without injury/therapy/other adverse consequences. So you basically have to start again in the baby-gear roundup. The box of unhealthy food product you should surely never serve your children always serves four people. Tickets come in twos and fours. And don’t get me started on the expensive medical bills/college tuitions/food/larger home to live in/gas for the larger vehicles/etc.
Hate Minivans? Yeah, Me Too.

Hate Minivans? Yeah, Me Too.

  • I know lots of people with more than three kids. And somehow it seems easier. Here’s my theory: when you have three, you have not yet reached that critical mass phase, where the children act as a group. Instead, it’s just lots of separate individuals, acting randomly. Someone is always left out. I don’t think it helps that there was also never a plan for one of us to be a full-time stay at home parent and a plan to have large numbers of children. Instead, I am a working mother of one to two children–already very difficult–but I have three. I have even heard from a few friends with more than three that the jump from two to three was the hardest.
  • More logistics. Let’s say you have three kids, who are seven, almost four, and not quite two. The oldest one goes to school. Let me tell you about school. It sounds like it’s all day, but that’s actually an outrageous lie. That child’s school might run from 8:05 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. That’s a little challenging, because if you work, you probably don’t get off by 2 p.m. Well, let’s throw in that in her district, Thursdays are early out days, and school closes at 1:15 p.m. Now let’s throw in a preschool. Preschool runs from nine to noon. So yes, there’s an hour or two at either end. Not quite enough time in which to get anything done. And then throw in the baby. He doesn’t even go to school yet, which is actually kind of easier, because you don’t know how in the world you would drive him somewhere, too. But when he’s a young baby, his naptime coincides with the preschool dropoff. And his afternoon nap (and the preschooler’s) both coincide with the 1:15 p.m./2:35 p.m. pickup. Awesome, right? You could solve the need for having to spend two to three hours a day loading three kids in and out of the car to take people to school by purchasing them all individualized child care, where everyone either stayed on-site where she or he was or was driven to or from school, for a mere two to six thousand more dollars a month, depending on which scenario you choose. No really, I’m not kidding. And guess how much it costs to have a nanny who is capable of handling not just three children, but the difficult load-up and drop-off scenarios that you yourself are basically incapable of handling?
  • If you have any children at all, or are close to some, you know that having babies is really hard, but the more other young children are around, in some ways the harder it gets. Nursing one baby is difficult at times for various reasons, but nursing one baby while managing two other children is nearly impossible. Noah got used to me bellowing over his head while he was just trying to eat, and then I felt guilty because none of my other babies were subjected to my shrieks while they were nursing.
  • If you are any kind of parent or caregiver, you have probably grown used to the public comment period that accompanies any excursion you take, and perhaps the occasional bout of despair. I cannot step out my door without someone informing me either that I am brave or that I have my hands full. And they either look pitying or they laugh. It’s super helpful. And I kind of can’t go anywhere without everything falling apart. (Coming soon: my essay, “She Needs Groceries,” written for the Listen to Your Mother show.) When my third child was brand new, my spouse came with the four of us to a party that was about fourteen feet from our house, and then left for a work obligation. Well, while I was alone there, I had to sit down to nurse the baby. The other two kids immediately started behaving badly, and there was very little I could do about it. I got the eyebrow from various people around, but my middle child was too young to give a darn. He was an unattended two year old. And then the baby spat up all over his clothes. So I took his clothes off, barking scolds at the other two, who were supposed to be carving pumpkins, but who were actually ruining the garden. As soon as I took the baby’s clothes off and resumed nursing, he did that baby party trick where they manage to pee straight out of their diaper without even getting the thing wet. He peed all over both of us. I knew I needed to go. But I looked at the naked, wet baby, my dirty two year old, who was digging, and my regular old five year old, who was not actively misbehaving but who was too young to really help me do anything. And I knew I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get back to my house, which was only two doors down. And I felt like a failure of a parent, because I couldn’t handle this many children, but they were going to require that I manage to handle them. I don’t say this as a pity party–now it’s finally funny–but I imagine that many of you have been in this spot at some point, and I can’t imagine that anyone with three or more kids would not end up in this spot at some point.
  • Noise. OMG, don’t get me started. Suffice it to say that the noise is probably the hardest thing for me, as as parent. I am sensitive to noises. And by sensitive, I mean that I get irritable and snappish when there is a constant din in the background. I think I have thus grown increasingly irritable and snappish over the past seven and a half years.
  • The mess is troublesome. My family generates more than one load of dishes a day, plus about one load of laundry per day, or more. Just doing those things would be a job, but there are also more toys and debris on the floor, more garbage, more random acts of destruction…I love having a clean house. But I can’t keep up. And I was historically so organized, so thoughtful, so together. I’m money ahead if I get a birthday card for my own mom or husband at this point, and I forgot to go to my daughter’s first parent-teacher conferences (see Signs of Subpar Parenting), because I was in the throes of new-baby exhaustion and dementia. Talk about guilt.

I would be remiss if I did not own up to the benefits that having three kids comes with. Such as the fact that you really do get better at babies. I can nurse a baby, change a diaper, or teach a baby to sleep like nothing. Also, people finally stop thinking they can give you advice, because most of them don’t have as many children as you do. When I was pregnant with Selah, strangers would admonish me, “It’s not going to be easy–just wait,” as if I had said it was easy. When I was pregnant with Asher, they would warn me that having two was no picnic. When I was pregnant with Noah, the commenters would approach, ready to dole it out, and would often start with, “Is it your first?” since I am a baby face. I started to feel this kind of sadistic glee in saying, “Oh, no, it’s my third,” and watching their expressions change from helpful know-it-all to horrified stumped person. I refrained from saying, “What do you want to say NOW? What’s your ADVICE?” but only narrowly. I’m sure there are many benefits, too, in being a jovial crowd, including the fact that each child brings funny new sayings, gifts, and ways of expressing affection to the table. But sometimes I’m so tired that I am missing out on what those are, and I cannot write them all down, photograph them, and document them the way I could when I just had one child.

So there it is. Make your own decisions. And if you have a third child, I can try to watch them for you. Though I might get kind of snappish or forget where one of them is.

All Three Kids Smiling at the Same Time, Captured on Film

All Three Kids Smiling at the Same Time, Captured on Film

If you’d like more about cherishing these blessed moments with three kids, read Worst Baptism Ever.

While I love nearly all of the comments I have received, I wrote another post meant to rebut the argument that parenting is or should be easy: Rebuttal and Train Museums.

And for those who are irritated by my venting (this clearly happens), I also honestly enjoy many of the other moments. Here are thoughts on trying to clean my daughter’s room: The Things She Carried.

***

After a number of people read this (thanks to all those who have affirmed me in my fatigue), Brian of i would be frail, wrote a good essay that doesn’t disagree with, but adds on to my story. His children are slightly older, and in some ways that gives me hope! Hopefully you enjoy reading both, and if you have three kids, find a little hope in his words of encouragement: So, You Would Like to Have Three Children: A Non-Rebutting Counterpoint

Comments

  1. Anne Parker:

    Thank you for the laugh. And to think, part of my logic in wanting to have a third child was, “if the Meehan’s can do it, so can we.” Three may be a handful, but you have a beautiful family and great hearts and a wonderful sense of humor. Great job mommy of three!

    Reply

    • Laura:

      What made you think we can do it? Haha! Thank you, friend.

      Reply

      • Lisa:

        I have four kids, but I have to admit that the transition from two to three was definitely the hardest. I wish I had had some insight like this blog prior to embarking upon it because I could have been better mentally prepared. So much chaos occurred during this transition that I would not relive those days for anything. One of the hardest hurdles was telling my own family (I came from a family with two kids)and hearing the response of “So you’re Catholic now!” I have felt by the fourth child, I have experienced so many different parenting moments that by this time it is practically a walk in the park, tongue-in-cheek. I agree with the comment of having more than three that a camaraderie begins to form. Everyone always seems to have a playmate, the older ones can pitch in to help out with the younger ones. Since I have two of each, the boys share a room and the girls share a room, although like mentioned, personalities would have dictated that otherwise. We have learned to function as a team because we feel like we’ve been around the block a few times now. I have taken all four to the store, to church, and other places by myself and have survived. I have to admit that these moments have made me feel courageous and proud. I feel better organized and focused because they are now all school-aged and can do most things independently. Keep your chin up! It is totally worth it! You will survive the chaos and triumph victoriously! Keep sharing!

        Reply

    • louisa:

      Thank you much for this blog, as a uk mum of three (aged 2, nearly 4 and nearly 8) I can really appreciate all you say especially the school run stress, worse now that we need hats, scarves and gloves x 3! I was beginning to come to the end if my tether after another hard week and thinking that perhaps it was my parenting at fault but your uplifting blog has made me realise that this is “just third child syndrome” and I should accept and maybe even embrace it. Xx

      Reply

      • Laura:

        It’s not you! It’s having kids!

        Reply

    • stacey murieen:

      Great blog..cracked me up! I am also a mother of three, two girls and a boy. I can relate. My youngest is now four and everything gets soooo much easier, almost peaceful. Its easy now to truly enjoy every moment and well worth it. I laugh now at memories of everything falling apart at once. Guess what? We made it! Love your blog!

      Reply

  2. Mariette:

    One of the funniest articles I’ve read in awhile!! Officially subscribing to my first blog! As a single girl wanting babies- brilliant- appreciate the humor you find in this supposed amazing logistical nightmare!

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Thanks! Welcome aboard the roller coaster! And best of luck to you.

      Reply

      • Ann Tillman:

        I did laugh with you……not at you:) Just remembering what it was like raising our 5 children, all 18 months apart. I did survive and they are now all grown, married and having children of their own.

        Reply

      • Kristina:

        I have four ,ages 10,6,2 and 4 months. people always ask the same question…How do you do it… My answer is..I have no choice ,you have to figure it out and hope that maybe in. A few years you can keep the house clean,or sleep or take the kids out in public . after my first two I thought I was a professional parent .they were so well behave and always dressed nice then the third came along and completely blind sighted me. Now I’m that mom running after the child that could care less that I’m holding an infant or that I left my purse and buggy behind to run after him…I dread gong to anyone’s house with him who has nice things because the minute I tell him to put something down he hurls it like a major league Player. But as crazy as things get,I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

        Reply

  3. Shannon:

    Laura, You are right…three is…ummm…insane. You are out numbered and out gunned…and they know it. They know how to take you down and strike when you are least capable of defending yourself. (ex: nursing, talking on the phone, changing a diaper, etc.) I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “yes” to some question they asked while I was changing a diaper…only to realize later, when I find them feasting on an entire box of double stuffed oreo cookies and vanilla wafers, that I didn’t really hear what they asked but just gave them carte blanche on controlling their entire snacking destiny with my absentminded “yes” response. Fortunately, (for me at least) four is easier… Now, there is a buddy system and, for the most part, those crazy little beings line up together and start behaving in a somewhat predictable manner. So, in my opinion… it’s 2 or 4… but, you can’t stop at 3 or you will possibly never regain control of your life. 🙂 Glad to have found your blog… a friend of mine shared it on Facebook. It’s a good read!

    Blessings,
    Shannon

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Thanks, Shannon! I already wrote a blog post about the things that happen when I am not looking (i.e., spaced out), so I know what you mean! Thanks for reading. 🙂

      Reply

      • yasuzie:

        I have to say as a fellow mom of 3, I completely agree. I feel you’ve captured my life completely and written it down for me! I’ve experienced every one of the things that you’ve gone through! It’s absolute chaos all the time. I recall a recent trip to Costco where the whole family went. My hubby and I after 30 minutes got back in the car, exhausted and called off plans for the rest of the day. I sometimes jokingly refer to the expression losing my marbles, because I feel that having 3 kids is like having marbles rolling around on the floor, literally, losing marbles! 🙂

        I have a girl nearly 9, and my boys, oh those boys, 16 months apart at 5 and 4! I’m so infinitely grateful to be out of the diaper/nursing /potty phase, but now we’re in the fighting screaming and yelling phase. “He looked at me, He’s lying, no I’m not, yes you are….” oh, the joy! And my daughter either stirs the pot, tries to control her minions, or stays out of it all together. It’s impossible to do something for all of them all the time. They all demand attention but different sorts. When my daughter gets frustrated that she can’t sit and do things with me she’ll say things like “I remember what it was like, mom, before the boys (she was only 3!!) It was just you me and dad, and we did so many things together”. My youngest wonders why there are no framed pics of him anywhere! poor kiddo.

        I find myself running around like a chicken with no head for a big portion of the day. 3 separate school schedules, and a husband who commutes every day and travels a lot!! I’m blessed to have my parents living with me, but that has it’s downside as well, with elderly parents not tolerating as much as they used to, and 2 sets of authority figures to deal with. (at least I can leave them home on my grocery runs!) Some of my friends tell me I should have 4 to even things out, but the thought of another nearly puts me in tears!! Don’t get me wrong, I, like you, love, adore and cherish every inch of my kids. And I couldn’t imagine life without my 3rd schmoozer cuddle bug, but as an older mom (I was 36 when I had my 3rd), the noise, chaos and sheer energy drain that I go through every day is about all I can handle.
        The upside is that In some regards life gets a little easier when they can dress themselves, etc But, in some ways things become more challenging. Explaining why, or how or what 3x’s is never effective. Helping 3 kids with homework/assignments, picking and dropping from activities, inevitably, someone is always left behind. It’s funny. I have 2 brothers but I don’t recall this kind of chaos, and neither does my mom. I don’t know what it is about our generation that makes life so much more complicated.

        At any rate, THANK YOU! for sharing this with the world. I genuinely enjoyed it! Thank you for making me feel like I’m not the only one who feels like a crazy psycho screaming banshee just trying to hold it together some days. You made me laugh, smile and remember some wonderfully funny times with my kiddos (they’re funny in retrospect, ofcourse!)

        Reply

    • Christina:

      Thanks Shannon! I need to show this to my husband who feels he is definitely done at 3 and I would like to try for one more in a few years (we have 3 girls, 6, 4, & 1)!

      Reply

    • Rhian Tooley:

      Ah, but in my case, after 3 with 18m gaps we waited 3 years and had number 4, except 4 was twins, giving me 5, aged 6, 4.5, 3 and a bit and two newborns. They’re now almost 2 years older. I wouldn’t call it easy!

      Reply

    • TheArchies WeAre:

      We’re in the process of building our family (have an 11 month old and one on the way) and we were contemplating 3 kids. After reading this and the comments, maybe we should up it to 4! It definitely sounds like 2 or 4 is best. Thanks for the insight!

      Reply

  4. Allison:

    I have an almost 3.5 year old, a newly 2 year old and a 9 month old. Everything you wrote about sounds exactly like my life!! Having 3 kids is much more difficult than I ever thought and somehow, just reading what you wrote and knowing someone else is dealing with the exact same thing makes me feel a lot better. And don’t even get me started on the noise factor!! Almost daily by 8:30 pm I am ready for Tylenol, more wine and my body is rendered useless from exhaustion. Cheers to you!

    Reply

  5. Alice:

    You had some time to get a blog post up, it can’t be all bad right? Luckily having children is usually a voluntary decision and you won’t need to try for number four!

    Reply

    • Haili G.:

      Yes, she had twenty whole minutes to herself and your point is? She’s not saying it’s all bad or looking for sympathy/empathy (which, by the way, it’s okay to do and also okay to HAVE for someone), she’s just sharing her experience in a humorous, exasperated way. And why is it “lucky” that she won’t be “voluntarily” having a fourth child? Exclamation points don’t quite take the snark out.

      Reply

    • Gina A.:

      I second Haili G.!!!

      Reply

      • Laura:

        Aw, thanks.

        Reply

      • Catherine:

        No, I agree with Alice. I have four kids. Three was relatively easy. Four is hard, particularly when the younger two are 16 months apart. I’ve been a sole parent since the youngest was 12 months old and I work full time because I have to. I have no family nearby to help. I manage to hold the show together. I’m no hero. I’m just doing what I have to do. I chose to have four children, and now it’s up to me to do what has to be done to raise them well. Great article, but at the end of the day anyone who has multiple children has them because they chose to (unless they have naturally-conceived triplets or quads). No point in resenting or belittlng other people who have made different choices.

        Reply

    • Nicole:

      She’s probably hiding in the bathroom and sporadically typing this post while pretending to crap.
      Love,
      Another mother of 3

      Reply

      • Heather:

        How do you think I’m reading this blog right now?
        Mom of a 5 yo and twin 2.75yos

        Reply

    • Craig Susen:

      likely this was written just after bed time for the first two and in between feedings when mom probably should be sleeping but needed to so “just one thing today” for herself.

      -craig and his 3 kids…

      Reply

    • Lisa (@4OurCountryRoad):

      Yes exactly!! Wonder what she thinks of my almost 5. LOL!

      Reply

    • Lisa Smith:

      Ha ha Alice! If a person is having a really rough time parenting three then maybe they SHOULD be really careful with their birth control from here on out. My number four was way too close in age to my number three child because I didn’t count correctly. Laura, You made me laugh and you’re a wonderful writer. I have seven, two with special needs, one adoption, and I also write about our experiences. I don’t have nearly as much talent as you do but I’ve had some pretty funny experiences also. The toddlers and preschoolers always knew they could do really neat stuff when the baby needed to nurse. And…. I remember that I NEVER felt like I’d had enough sleep. Three of mine are in college now and the oldest is out and married. They were all here for Xmas and it was almost as wild as when they were all babies together. Talk about noise! I loved (almost) every minute of it. Thanks for reminding me of some of the things I’d forgotten about. When I was hearing, “You really will miss this one day” I thought folks were nuts but I do miss it. I really do!

      Reply

    • erin toensing:

      i went for number three and the fourth came along with it! i get everything that your saying and then some. mine are 5, 3, and 5 months going all boys and then my girl. my life is fun and exhausting. i can be crying my eyes out but still i wouldnt have it any other way. i dont know why anyone would belittle this story. to me it just tells me there is another person out there who totally gets it and that makes us stronger. and by the way, i have been on the computer for a record 16 minutes while having 4 kids so thanks alice, i must be a rockstar today!

      Reply

    • SoldierGrrrl:

      Alice- Geeeeeze. Judgmental and rude much?

      Reply

    • Shari:

      What a bitchy comment. And yes, I said bitchy…I’m not gonna be underhandedly snarky like you, Alice. I’ll just come right out & say it. She didn’t say it was all bad. In fact, she said the opposite several times. I picture you, Alice, as one of those Mom’s at play dates that judges the other mothers for the occasional processed food or letting their kids watch TV.

      It’s okay to talk about the tough part of parenting. It keeps us all sane to know others have the same struggles that we do. And, if you don’t cop to the fact that parenting is damn hard, you’re either delusional or a liar.

      Here’s a tip for you – if you don’t like her blog, don’t read it anymore! (Like the exclamation point?!)

      Reply

    • Sandra:

      Alice, try not being such a hag. Thanks so much for totally missing the point of the whole blog, sunshine! 🙂

      Reply

  6. Erin:

    As a mom of 3, with a stepdaughter (making it 4), I can totally relate. Mine are 16, 6, 2, and 9 months. They are all girls. And still all different! What works for one doesn’t work for another (the baby is too soon to tell). and the chaos, the noise, the insanity of all of it. You would be amazed at how many people think the 16 year old should help more (really, she didn’t have the kids), or assume she did have one!

    When I was pumping in a public restroom (you do what you got to do), I had many folks commenting on how calm I was. After finding out I was on round 4, they’d laugh and say, maybe not calm, maybe just shell-shocked.

    Some day, get on a plane with all of those kids and then marvel at what people say, think, glare!

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Haha! You do get better at at least not looking panicked, even when it may be that you’re more like permanently panicked.

      Reply

  7. PD Williams:

    OGL – The moment my second daughter was mobile, my head began screaming “What the hell were we thinking?” — that is, between catching a perpetually nude toddler who thought it would be fun to take flight from the back of the sofa and going into a mad panic because my child was “missing” (she was hiding beneath the kitchen sink). My thoughts on a third child? Nevermore…

    Reply

    • Laura:

      That’s about how I was feeling already when we got pregnant with our third child. Hang in there!

      Reply

      • Patricia:

        I have 3, I remember a bad day when I was about 3 months pregnant with the third. My husband found me crying in the sofa saying “What have we done?”. He laughed and replied “Too late now”. Lucky for us she was the easiest baby of the 3. Two are in college now. Hang on. But I would not change a thing, Eben the right days

        Reply

        • Laura:

          You know, my youngest was easiest too.

          Reply

  8. Kelle Thomas:

    I am not convinced. Despite your post I still want three. Keeping in mind that 1) we only have one now and she’s still a baby and 2) my husband only wants two. Guess we’ ll see what happens 🙂

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Hey, I said you could make your own decision! 🙂 Maybe you want three!

      Reply

    • megan:

      That might be because you have one. Now that I have two I look at parents with one and think “they have NO idea”. I also used to want three (when my first was a baby). Yes. I had NO idea lol

      Reply

      • Carey Trachian:

        Ha Megan I used to say that to myself all the time too except I do have 3(they are all barely 2 years apart). My toughest adjustment though was definitely from 1 to 2 maybe because she was the hardest baby she also didn’t make it easy with her bolting after #3 came along either. I would look at those with 1 or 2 and say you have NO idea what its like.

        Reply

    • Clair:

      I have 3 kids under 3. I love it! It’s tiring but in my opinion not much worse than having 2. I wanted 3 or 4 kids and after having 3 I would still love to adopt our 4th one day.

      Reply

      • Laura:

        Oddly, I think I can imagine adopting or fostering another child some day. I really do love children. I think a lot of it is that it’s hard for me to be my best self with the hormones and physical fatigue that accompany having babies. I would happily have more children if they were born about four years old. 🙂 I am glad the transition to three wasn’t too hard for you.

        Reply

      • Jolene Mason:

        I had three and wished I would have had 4. Just never really liked 3. Seemed like two would stick together and gang up on the one. Never really found it that hard, yes sometimes I would be tired but I’m that way now and they have all grown up and two now live on their own. Hope some day you do get to adopt another one.

        Reply

      • Kim:

        I agree with Clair. I had my third just before my first turned three and I was tired but didn’t find it hard. Now we have four and we homeschool them and we are hoping to have more.

        Reply

    • Zionjawa Sines:

      Wow kelle were the same! I want three but my husband wants two and our daughter will be two next month. This article is a little scary but we’ve already decided that the next baby’s gender will decide on the amount. If its a boy we’re done, but if its a girl we go for number three. I guess I’m hoping strategic spacing between babies will save me from the total chaos you’ve experienced lol

      Reply

    • kissa:

      Good for you Kelle Thomas, This blog keeps coming up and I hate it! I just want to say suck it up. As a mom of three I love it, and wouldn’t change it for the world. Even one child can drive you nuts some time they all know how to press the right buttons. I have three boys ages 5,4,and 2. I would have had the last one closer but I had to talk my husband into it. They are the best of friends and my little team. So if you want three do it. If you had three but its not what you wanted don’t share it with the world, some women can’t even have one..so keep it to your shelf.

      Reply

      • Mel:

        Thanks for this I’m pregnant with my third I’m so early and I’m freaking out as wasn’t planned and I want to maybe go down the Rd of a termination and this post has made me feel worse to be honest I actually didn’t see any positives but thanks for your positive comment !

        Reply

        • Laura:

          Oh, hang in there. My third was not planned either, and now that he’s four and the older kids are in elementary school, it is SO MUCH EASIER! I swear. Not all the time, but enough of the time that I feel much better now.

          Reply

  9. Byron Wade:

    Laura – Great post! My wife and I only have a son who is eleven now (we lost two before he came along) and just reading about your experiences made me re-live some hilarious-now-but-not-so-much-then childrearing stories. All in all it seems like you are holding on, doing the best you can. Hopefully when your children get a little older they will come up to you in that magical moment and say, “Thanks, Mom, for everything you’ve done.” And hopefully that will be worth it! Blessings to you and your family.

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Thanks for your encouragement! Sometimes I think I will survive if I can just get everyone to be three or older. 🙂 And I am very sorry to hear about your losses.

      Reply

  10. mla:

    Thanks for this. I have a lot of the same feelings you do.

    Have you read frailb’s response to your post? http://frailb.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/so-you-would-like-to-have-three-children-a-non-rebutting-counterpoint/#comments

    I thought it was interesting and gave me hope, as a parent of three, that as they get older it will maybe get easier.

    I didn’t choose to have three. That number was thrust upon me when #2 ended up being twins. We’ve just gotten through the first year of twin parentdom, and it’s been quite a ride. It’s been hard and amazing and exciting and defeating and full of love and wonder. But yeah. Hard.

    Reply

    • Laura:

      I also really liked his response, and I shared it on FB. Maybe I will link to it here too, once I have a minute. One reason I like blogging, even sometimes gripey posts, is because of the chorus of me toos. We all need to stick together and encourage each other. And I am fairly certain it will be easier for me once they are older and can somewhat function independently.

      Blessings to you.

      Reply

  11. MLA:

    If you’re like me, maybe #2 will be twins, and you’ll get your three. 😀

    Reply

  12. MLA:

    Yeah, I think baby and toddlerhood is just really rough. Of course, I hear that the teen stage is no bed of roses, either. 😉

    Reply

  13. Jen Matthews:

    Thank you so much for making me feel normal! I am the mom of three boys ages 9, 6 (7 in 2 weeks!), and 5. There are 2.5 years between my oldest and middle and 18 months between the middle and youngest. I thought I was going nuts sometimes and people with 1 or 2 kids just always had it together compared to me. Now I see the light! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I hope to read many more fun stories from you in the future!!

    Reply

    • Laura:

      You do have it together, because you have survived this long! 🙂 Hang in there. We parents need each other’s encouragement.

      Reply

  14. Kate:

    A friend posted this on Facebook. As a stepmom to a 9-year-old boy, and mom to 5 and 3 year old boys, a 16 month old girl and soon-to-be boy in August, I had to laugh at this article. I had a little bit of a softer transition from 2 to 3 of my own because I already had the 2 to 3 part-time experience (full-time in the summer), so I had a taste of it before I jumped in to the full-time. I’m actually terrified of this next baby. It was a bit of an accident and completely caught us by surprise. We were going to be done after our girl. I’m having to completely go back into infant-mode thinking. I’m so exhausted now; I just am praying every day for God to give me the energy, patience, sanity, etc… that I need.

    Reply

    • Laura:

      That’s how I felt during my last pregnancy. I will pray for you, too. Blessings to you.

      Reply

  15. tedbohne:

    i have no children. there are good reasons why this is the case, however perhaps you or your readers might be offended. i love children though. i wish my generation had left them with a better world than we did1

    Reply

    • Laura:

      I could not be less offended. Many people do not choose to have children, and that’s fine! 🙂 Funnily, I am writing a post about ideals and trying to leave my kids with a good world.

      Reply

  16. Kristen:

    Hilarious! So true and makes me feel so much more normal! My three are just as active as your sound but I wouldn’t have it any other way, crazy or not…and I’ve grown to love my mini van!

    Reply

  17. Stacy B.:

    I. LOVE. THIS!!! As a mom to 3 age 3 and under (two of which are currently serenading me at the breakfast table), I can 1,000,000% relate! Great read. Thanks for the laugh!!! I will be following your blog from now on!